Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat Trilogy
Posted 22 April 2003 - 07:51 PM
The majority of Terrans were six-legged. They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system. They also had sufficient intelligence to survive on that barren boondocks planet for several billions of years.
We are not concerned here with the majority of Terrans. We are concerned with a tiny minority-the domesticated primates who built cities and wrote symphonies and invented things like tic-tac-toe and integral calculus. At the time of our story, these primates regarded themselves as the Terrans. The six-legged majority and other life-forms on that planet hardly entered into their thinking at all, most of the time.
The domesticated primates of Terra referred to the six-legged majority by an insulting name. They called them "bugs."
There was one species on Terra that lived in very close symbiosis with the domesticated primates. This was a variety of domesticated canines called dogs.
The dogs had learned to achieve a rough simulation of "guilt" and "remorse" and "worry" and other domesticated primate characteristics.
The domesticated primates had learned how to achieve simulations of "loyalty" and "dignity" and "cheerfulness" and other canine characteristics.
The primates claimed that they loved the dogs as much as the dogs loved them. Still, the primates kept the best food for themselves. The dogs noticed this, you can be sure, but they loved the primates so much that they forgave them.
One dog became famous. Actually he and she was a group of dogs, but they became renowned collectively as "Pavlov's Dog".
The thing about Pavlov's Dog is that he or she or they responded mechanically to mechanically administered stimuli. Pavlov's Dog caused some of the domesticated primates, especially the scientists, to think that all dog behavior was equally mechanical. This made them wonder about other mammals, including themselves.
Most primates ignored this philosophical challenge. They went about their business assuming that they were not mechanical.
The fact that plutonium was missing originally leaked to the press in the mid-1970s. At first there was a minor wave of panic among those given to worrying about such matters, and there was even some churlish grumbling about a government so incompetent that it couldn't keep track of its own weapons of megadeath.
But then a year passed, and another, and soon five years had passed, and then nearly a decade; and the missing plutonium was still missing but nothing really drastic had happened.
Terran primates, being a simpleminded, sleepful race, simply stopped worrying about the subject. The triggering mechanism of the most destructive weapon ever devised on that backward planet was in unknown hands, true; but that was really not much more unsettling to contemplate than the fact that many of the known hands which had enjoyed access to plutonium belonged to persons who were not in all respects reasonable men. (See Terran Archives: Reagan, Ronald Wilson, career of.)
The primate philosophy of that epoch was summed up by one of their popular heroes, Mr. Satchel Paige, in the aphorism, "Don't look back-something might be gaining on you." It was a comfortable philosophy for sleep-loving people.
The use of atomic weapons was widely blamed on a primate named Albert Einstein. Even Einstein himself had agreed with this opinion. He was a pacifist and had suffered abominable pangs of conscience over what had been done with his scientific discoveries.
"I should have been a plumber," Einstein said just before he died.
Actually the discovery of atomic energy was the result of the work of every scientist, craftsman, engineer, technician, philosopher, and gadgeteer who had ever lived on Terra. The use of atomic energy as a weapon was the result of all the political decisions ever made, from the time the vertebrates first started competing for territory.
Most Terran primates did not understand the multiplex nature of causality. They tended to think everything had a single cause. This simple philosophic error was so widespread on that planet that the primates were all in the habit of giving themselves, and other primates, more credit than was deserved when things went well. This made them all inordinately conceited.
They also gave themselves, and one another, more blame than was deserved when things went badly. This gave them all jumbo-sized guilt complexes.
It is usually that way on primitive planets, before quantum causality is understood.
Quantum causality was not understood on Terra until physicists solved the Schr?dinger's Cat riddle.
Schr?dinger's Cat never became as famous among the primate masses as Pavlov's Dog, but that was because the cat was harder to understand than the dog.
Pavlov's Dog could be understood in simple mechanical metaphors. To understand Schr?dinger's Cat you needed to first understand the equations of quantum probability waves. Only a few primates were smart enough to read the equations, and even they couldn't understand them.
That was because the equations seemed to say that the cat was dead and alive at the same time.
Every character in this book looks like Pavlov's Dog from a certain angle. If you look at him or her a different way, however, you'll see Schr?dinger's Cat.
you really oughta buy a copy...
Good thing there's more than one way to skin a cat...
Posted 04 May 2003 - 02:52 AM
The real leader was, of course, an alpha male. His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt Stuart, and he was one of the smartest men in Unistat at that time. Unfortunately, his reptile biosurvival circuit was imprinted with chronic anxiety, his mammalian emotional-territorial circuit was imprinted with defensive aggression, his hominid semantic circuit was imprinted with an explosive blend of Black street cynicism and New Left ideology, and his domesticated sociosexual circuit was from Kinksville.
F.D.R. Stuart claimed that the purpose of POE was to accelerate the dialectical process of evolution toward the classless society where all would live in peace, prosperity, and socialist solidarity, and there would be no cops.
The real purpose of Stuart's activities was to "get even". The other primates in Unistat had raped his mother and jailed his father and driven his brothers and sisters into street crime and junk and generally maltreated him all his life. In addition they called him by an insulting name, which was "nigger".
Second in command in POE was Sylvia Goldfarb, a refugee from God's Lightning, NOW, the Radical Lesbians, and Weather Underground. She was even smarter than F. D.R. Stuart, but she deferred to him, despite her feminist orientation, because he was a true alpha male who was a "Mean Motherphucker When Crossed" and had even more rage in him than she did.
To Sylvia, the purpose of POE, she said, was to create a world where all men and women, all races and all classes, all humanity, lived in loving harmony and ate uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Her real motive was also to "get even". The other primates discriminated against her for being female, for being Jewish, for being highly verbal and a Teacher's Pet, for wearing glasses, for being an atheist, and for several dozen other reasons at least. They also called her by an insulting name, which was "dyke".
The third founding member was Mountbatten Babbit, who was a cyclical schizophrenic. He wigged out once a year, on the average, and had learned how to medicate himself with phenothyazines to keep those periods of Bizarresville down to a few weeks each, but during those dilations of ego he was likely to be anybody from Napoleon to a Vietnamese Buddhist. The rest of the year he was a brilliant research chemist and computer expert, but it was hard for him to get a good job because of his several incarcerations in mental hospitals.
Babbit said he was in POE to create a rational world guided by sound scientific and libertarian-socialist principles. Yeah, he wanted to get "even" too. The other primates called him a "nut" or a "fruitcake".
The other members of POE were equally brilliant and equally desperate.
Read it or I'll...
Posted 28 January 2004 - 08:40 PM
or, How I Found the Goddess and What I Did To Her When I Found Her
THE MAGNUM OPIATE OF MALACLYPSE THE YOUNGER
Wherein Is Explained Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing About Absolutely Anything
(K) ALL RIGHTS REVERSED - Reprint what you like
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